NEW YORK (AP) — Former NBA Commissioner David Stern had emergency surgery after suffering a brain hemorrhage while having lunch not far from league headquarters.
The league had no update on his condition Friday.
The 77-year-old Stern underwent the operation at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital after he was stricken at a midtown Manhattan restaurant.
Stern served exactly 30 years as the NBA’s longest-tenured commissioner before Adam Silver succeeded him on Feb. 1, 2014.
The league made the announcement about Stern in a statement, saying its thoughts were with him and his family.
Stern has remained affiliated with the league, holding the title of commissioner emeritus. He has remained active in his other interests, such as sports technology.
Stern oversaw the growth of the NBA into a league whose games were televised in more than 200 countries and territories and in more than 40 languages. The league was staging a regular-season game in Mexico City between Dallas and Detroit on Thursday night when it revealed the news about Stern.
Support for Stern has come from across the game. Hall of Famer Magic Johnson tweeted that he and wife Cookie were praying “for my good friend who helped save my life.”
Johnson announced he was retiring because of the AIDS virus in 1991 but returned the following year at the All-Star Game with Stern’s backing, Johnson would later rejoin the league with Stern’s support, even while some players voiced concern about playing against him for health reasons.
Stern has stayed busy after leaving as commissioner, traveling overseas on the league’s behalf, doing public speaking and consulting. He was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.
Stern oversaw the addition of seven franchises and the creation of the WNBA and NBA Development League, now called the G League — which will have a franchise in Mexico starting with the 2020-21 season. Stern had a hand in numerous initiative, including drug testing, the salary cap and a dress code.
He would not allow staffers to use the word “retire” when he left his office, because he never intended to stop working. He has kept an office in New York and regularly travels into Manhattan for work on the projects he pursued once he turned the league over to Silver.